S.Africa watchdog says Barclays Africa must repay $86.44 mln over bailouts

President Jacob Zuma. Image GALLO IMAGES

Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called on Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to release four reports involving the Gupta family on Monday "in the interest of transparency and the South African public".

The DA states that Mkhwebane has yet to deliver investigation reports based on complaints laid against the Gupta family almost a year ago and that this silence has led to serious doubts surrounding her objectivity and neutrality.

She specifically asked for the removal from the constitution of the phrase "to protect the value of the currency" that has been central to South African monetary policy since the end of white-minority rule in 1994.

"I see the SARB leadership strongly and resolutely defending their independence and existing mandate including via court action if necessary", he said.

The NGO's Director Paul Hoffman says the bailout was illegal and there was evidence of maladministration by the new South African government in its failure to follow up on misappropriated money.

Zuma filed the application to review and set aside the report in the High Court in Pretoria a year ago.

In her findings against Barclays, which trades under the name of Absa, Mkhwebane said the bank had unduly benefited from apartheid-era bailouts and must repay 1.125 billion rand ($87 million). Zuma's lawyers also argued it was unconstitutional for the public protector to tell the president to set up a judicial commission and decide who should chair it within 30 days.

"On the State of Capture report, the last time we met I said I was taking legal advice on the matter".

The preliminary report found that Absa - which took up ownership of the Bankorp group of banks - could be forced to pay back R2.25-billion to the fiscus after an unlawful apartheid-era bailout of banks in the Bankorp group.

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